Kenya flirting with relegation after disastrous Los Angeles 7s

© Shujaa

RUGBY Kenya flirting with relegation after disastrous Los Angeles 7s

Imran Otieno 14:15 - 27.02.2023

Shujaa dropped to 13th on the standings after the poor outing.

The alarm bells are seriously clamoring for Kenya Sevens following another insipid performance in the Los Angeles leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series that saw them finish joint last.

Shujaa posted a blistering start to the sixth leg of the series after claiming a massive scalp following their 12-7 win over reigning series champions Australia.

However, things went south after the win following defeats to Japan who are anchored to the foot of the table, and Fiji which meant that Shujaa missed out on a Main Cup quarter-final by points difference.

Damian McGrath’s side then took on Canada in the 9th-place quarter-final which they lost 12-5 with Alvin Otieno grabbing the sole try for Kenya in the narrow defeat.

Kenya then bowed out of the tournament following a 21-26 defeat against hosts the USA in the 13th-place semifinal.

Strathmore Leos speedster and debutant Brunson Madigu, Daniel Taabu and Kevin Wekesa grabbed tries in the game but time ran out before Kenya could complete the comeback.

Skipper Nelson Oyoo noted that there was an improvement in the LA performances as he went on to reveal that some of the players had a doubt of flu during the tournament.

"Some of the boys are demoralized but it's something we will pick on heading to next week, we are going to take our positives and work on our negatives, right now the team is gelling and there is an improvement though the results are not showing.

We had a couple of ill players in the team, some of the boys succumbed to the cold and couldn't play but that is not an excuse,” said Oyoo.

Kenya only managed to garner a solitary point that takes their tally to 22 points as they drop to 13th ahead of the next round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver from 3-5 March.

Oyoo also blamed profligacy in their clash against lowly ranked Japan but promised a better outing in the Vancouver 7s as Shujaa aim to claw themselves out of the relegation zone.

“We were unlucky in the Japan game, we had so many opportunities to score and even though the weather was not on our side, it's a lesson always to take points and not struggle in the end.

We are going hard to get ourselves out of the relegation zone, the journey is still on, we are trying to revive our flag and put it on the map again," concluded the skipper.

This season the series is structured so that at the end of the penultimate event in Toulouse, the 15th-ranked team will be relegated to the 2024 Challenger Series while the 12th to 14th-ranked teams will face off against the Challenger Series 2023 winner for the final position in the 2024 World Series.